Sunday, 22 February 2015

CX vs DX for bird photography

When it comes to bird photography for hobbyists, there are two quite new choices: The Nikkor CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 (my review) for Nikon 1 cameras, and the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Sports for DX cameras with an APS-C sensor size.

The lenses are pictured below in the transport positions, as compact as possible, with the Nikkor CX 70-300mm being the smallest, obviously:

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Sports

I like the Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 (my review) for use on Nikon 1 cameras. It is very light and compact, and performs well. It is easy to bring along as a handheld birders lens.

However, there are times when you need more reach, and there are times when you need better low light performance. Nikon 1 cameras generally perform well up to ISO 1600, but not so good above that.

The solutions can be: To get an even longer lens for use on Nikon 1 using the FT-1 adapter, or to get an APS-C based system with better high ISO performance. In this article, I will look into both.

We recently saw the launch of the Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3, which could have been an alternative for use on the adapter. However, the lens does not operate on Nikon 1 cameras at all with the Nikon FT-1 adapter.

Sigma also launched a lens with very similar specifications, the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Sports. It comes at twice the price of the Tamron lens, but adds enthusiast friendly features such as splash and dust proofing, water repellant front and rear lens elements. It seems like the perfect long zoom lens for bird and wildlife photographers on a budget.

Here are the two lenses, the Nikon CX 70-300mm in the foreground, and the much larger Sigma 150-600mm in the background: